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Neymar injury an opportunity for Julian Draxler at PSG

From rising star to Germany regular, Julian Draxler's career has long been trending upward, but he's struggled for playing time since joining Paris Saint-Germain. Will Neymar's injury offer him a pre-World Cup boost? Six months ago, things were looking pretty good for Julian Draxler. After securing the move away from Wolfsburg that he'd long been angling for, he'd become a regular in Paris Saint-Germain's version of the Galacticos, captained Germany to a Confederations Cup win and had the inside track toward a starting spot in Germany's World Cup defense in Russia. But then, at the beginning of August, the French club broke the world transfer record to sign a Brazilian from Barcelona who played in his position. Since Neymar arrived at the Parc des Princes, there's been little doubt that he's the star of the show, with 29 goals in 29 games to go along with the headline-grabbing birthday parties and public rows over penalty duties. But his arrival has been less than positive for Draxler, who has completed 90 minutes just six times for his club this season, with only a handful of cameo appearances in his favored position on the left wing. Frustrations evident After PSG's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 — in which Draxler played just nine minutes — the 24-year-old let his frustrations slip to German broadcaster ZDF. “In the Bernabeu, you don’t want to watch 84 minutes from the bench but, with our squad, you don’t always get the choice,” he said. The extent of Neymar's metatarsal fracture, which he suffered in PSG's 3-0 win over Marseille on Sunday, is unclear at this stage, but it appears he'll be out for at least a month. This means he is almost certain to miss the return leg on March 6, despite PSG coach Unai Emery's suggestion there's a "small chance" he'll be ready. Draxler would surely revel in another game against a team he dismantled while playing for Wolfsburg in 2016 . However, his place is not totally assured, with Argentinians Angel di Maria or Javier Pastore among the alternatives for the Parisian club. A chance to make his mark Despite the competition, Emery, who has often tried to shoehorn the German in to a central midfield since Neymar's arrival, spoke highly of Draxler in December as rumors swirled about a switch to the Premier League. "He's in a constant evolution and he still has a lot of energy. At PSG, Draxler is in very good hands, he's a great contributor to our game, he's learning a lot," Emery said. "I talk to him a lot and I'm very demanding with him and he's one of those very ambitious players and he shows that with good performances, also for the national team, and he's a very important player for us." As Emery suggested, Draxler is a key man for Joachim Löw and his name is surely inked in to Germany's 23-man squad for Russia 2018. But, with Leroy Sané impressing for Manchester City, Julian Brandt showing flickers of form at Bayer Leverkusen and Marco Reus impressing in his latest comeback at Borussia Dortmund, Draxler needs regular playing time to find the form and fitness that would secure him a starting spot. With another crunch game against Marseille in the French Cup on Wednesday before the Madrid game and prestige international friendlies against Spain and Brazil at the end of March, Neymar's absence could offer an opportunity for PSG's half-forgotten man to restate his case.

From rising star to Germany regular, Julian Draxler’s career has long been trending upward, but he’s struggled for playing time since joining Paris Saint-Germain. Will Neymar’s injury offer him a pre-World Cup boost? Six months ago, things were looking pretty good for Julian Draxler. After securing the move away from Wolfsburg that he’d long been angling for, he’d become a ... Read More »

Julian Draxler: Scoring again for Germany was good for my self-confidence

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists and tapped on his mobile phone. The 23-year-old had his baseball cap pulled down low and beside him stood his small suitcase. "I got some messages about my goal, but nothing out of the ordinary," the attacking player said. "But I was actually just waiting for my family." Draxler's parents had followed Germany's 2-0 win from the stands, a match that featured a good performance by their son. Draxler beamed as he accepted his parents' congratulations. "I'm relieved, I hadn't scored for the past weeks," the national team member explained. "It was great to score a goal today, it was important for my self-confidence and my ego." Draxler, who had already left a good impression in his previous two World Cup-qualifying matches, put Germany in the lead with his goal in the 13th minute - a strike hit from the top of the box. It was the third start in a row for Draxler, who was a member of the German squad that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This is an indication of the trust placed in him by national team coach Joachim Löw. "I believe I performed well at the European Championships and worked by way towards inclusion in the first 11," he said. "We have a lot of good players at my position, so getting the start in the past two games is a good sign." In fact, the Wolfsburg attacker does seems to have played himself into the first team through his form in France in the summer, where he also rewarded Löw's trust in him. And Draxler is continuing to make a good case for himself. 'We are in a difficult situation' While things are going well for him with the national team Draxler continues to struggle for form at Wolfsburg and his critics have been getting louder. They accuse him of not trying hard enough, or of not having the right attitude. Following his demand that he be allowed to leave the club last summer, Draxler has come in for increased scrutiny. "The hard work continues," Draxler said. "I want to have success with my club as well." It is simply a different environment, club and country are two different things, he said, while at the same time rejecting the suggestion that he works harder for the national team than at club level. "We are in a difficult situation in Wolfsburg," he said."We can only get out of it by working together." Heavy criticism The confident attacker now hopes to be able to transfer the positive energy from his national team experiences to his club. However, the former Schalke player knows that this is easier said than done, as complaints get louder with every mistake he makes. Draxler and his teammates haven't won any of their last five games. And he hasn't scored a single goal for his club this season. Just like his friend Mario Gomez, who joined Wolfsburg during the summer transfer window. "We are focused on the next task at hand. We can't change anything else anyway," Draxler said. One of his main goals for the future is to be part of the German team that will seek to defend their World Cup title at the 2018 tournament in Russia, although it seems unlikely that he will still be in Wolfsburg by that time. On this evening in Hanover Draxler enjoyed his last few hours with the national team - for now - in the knowledge that just being part of the squad is a special privilege. "I enjoy every minute of it and I regard myself as a part of this team, because it's simply a lot of fun," he said.

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists ... Read More »

‘I want to leave Wolfsburg,’ Julian Draxler reveals

Wolfsburg's star man Julian Draxler reveals his desire to leave the Volkswagen Arena less than a year on from his transfer from Schalke. The club's sporting director had previously dismissed the possibility of a move. Germany forward Julian Draxler has revealed in an interview with German news outlet "Bild" that he wants to leave Wolfsburg. The 22-year old said he informed the club's management and coaching staff of his wish three weeks ago. "I clearly told [Wolfsburg coach] Dieter Hecking after the European Championship that I wanted to leave Wolfsburg," Draxler said. "The coach knew for over three weeks. It really surprised me that for weeks they talked to the media about me. I expected that differently, for instance that someone would approach me and ask how I see it. Before they said something publically, they should have also talked with me personally first." Draxler added: "Two days after the European Championship semifinal I told [Hecking] how I saw the whole situation and what I want for myself - specifically to leave the club. Now I am back in Germany and again people are talking about me to the media instead of talking with me directly. Now I want to say something about it." Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs claimed two weeks ago in an interview with broadcaster "Sport1" that Draxler was going nowhere. "The situation with Draxler is 100 percent certain that he will be staying at Wolfsburg." Allofs said in the interview. "There is no discussing that." Allofs had also claimed Andre Schürrle would also remain at Wolfsburg before the winger left for Borussia Dortmund in a 30-million-euro ($33.7-million) move last month. Wolfsburg have also recently parted ways with forward Max Kruse, who rejoined Werder Bremen on Tuesday after just one year with Wolfsburg. Promised a chance to leave Draxler signed a five-year deal when he transferred from Schalke, Wolfsburg spending a club record fee of 35 million euros ($39.3 million). However, the German star described the move as a "spring board," claiming Wolfsburg would allow him to move to a bigger club. "When I moved in August 2015, I was verbally assured that I could leave the club if opportunities presented themselves. Both by Hecking and from Allofs," Draxler said. "It was always clear between all the parties involved that I wanted to go to an international top club if I had the chance." Draxler played 41 games for Wolfsburg in all competitions last season, scoring eight goals. He also featured for Germany five times at Euro 2016 in France, collecting a goal and an assist in the last 16 against Slovakia. The news of Draxler's desired departure will put many Bundesliga and top European clubs on red alert; Arsenal and Juventus were previously linked with the player.

Wolfsburg’s star man Julian Draxler reveals his desire to leave the Volkswagen Arena less than a year on from his transfer from Schalke. The club’s sporting director had previously dismissed the possibility of a move. Germany forward Julian Draxler has revealed in an interview with German news outlet “Bild” that he wants to leave Wolfsburg. The 22-year old said he ... Read More »

Wolfsburg sign Julian Draxler from Schalke

In the deal of Germany's transfer deadline day, Wolfsburg have found their replacement for the departed Kevin de Bruyne. German international midfielder Julian Draxler has joined from Schalke. Wolfsburg have confirmed the signing of German international Julian Draxler from Schalke on a five-year deal. The fee for the deal is undisclosed, but reports suggest the 21-year old has joined the German Cup winners for 35 million euros (39.2 million dollars) plus five to seven million in bonuses. "Wolfsburg offers me an excellent chance for my future and an extremely strong team," Draxler told Wolfsburg's club website. "I'm looking forward to playing in the Champions League with Wolfsburg and winning titles with the club." The move is a new transfer record fee paid by Wolfsburg, coming just one day after the Wolves recieved their club record transfer fee for Kevin de Bruyne from Manchester City. "We have made the decision to sell Julian for two reasons, but we can not confirm that transfer fee recieved from Wolfsburg for Julian," Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt to the club's website. "This is the highest transfer fee that Schalke have ever recieved and the request to move came from Julian, which we decided to accept," Heldt continued. Julian Draxler became the Bundesliga's youngest ever player, when he made his Schalke debut on 15 January, 2011, at 17 years, three months and 26 days old. Draxler made his Champions League debut just a month later and since then, has gone on to make 170 appearances for Schalke, scoring 30 goals. Draxler has also made 15 appearances for the German national team, scoring one goal. The Gladbeck born winger was last season linked with a move to the Premier League with Arsenal and this season with a move to the Serie A with Juventus. However, with de Bruyne's departure to Manchester City, Wolfsbrug have acted quickly to sign Draxler as a replacement.

In the deal of Germany’s transfer deadline day, Wolfsburg have found their replacement for the departed Kevin de Bruyne. German international midfielder Julian Draxler has joined from Schalke. Wolfsburg have confirmed the signing of German international Julian Draxler from Schalke on a five-year deal. The fee for the deal is undisclosed, but reports suggest the 21-year old has joined the ... Read More »

Bundesliga: Bayern win late, Schalke and Wolfsburg denied

After Friday night's draw in the capital, more draws and more drama followed on Saturday's Bundesliga matchday two action. Bayern's fortune continued and Kevin de Bruyne played, but he probably shouldn't have. Hoffenheim 1-2 Bayern Munich (Volland 1' - Müller 41', Lewandowski 90+1') Despite Hoffenheim setting a new league record they couldn't break their own curse against the record-champions as Bayern turned the game around to seal a dramatic away win that was full of incident. After just 9.3 seconds, Kevin Volland seized on a misplaced pass from David Alaba to score with Hoffenheim's first touch of the ball and send the home fans into raptures. Markus Gisdol's men had never beaten Bayern in Bundesliga history, but their early goal stunned the defending champions. Bayern just couldn't get anywhere near Hoffenheim's goal and after half an hour, the decision to start Mario Götze ahead of Robert Lewandowski looked an odd one. Oliver Baumann was called into action, making a fine reflex save to keep out a glancing header from Thomas Müller. After a drinks break and a substitution (Rafinha came on for Mehdi Benatia), Bayern found an equalizer just before the half-time whistle. Douglas Costa went on an all-too familiar jinking run down the left wing and Baumann could only palm the cross into Müller's path, who sent the ball in off his knee. It was, as expected, a different game in the second 45 minutes. Mario Götze's mazy run wasn't finished off by Costa, but Bayern were coming closer. Thiago came on for Arjen Robben, who had been relatively quiet, and a neat passing play ended with Arturo Vidal curling onto the top of the crossbar. In a moment of drama, Hoffenheim missed the chance to restore their lead. Jerome Boateng's raised arm in a wall deflected a free kick, but the incident was spotted by referee Tobias Stieler who sent off Boateng (second yellow) and awarded Hoffenheim a penalty. Eugen Polanski's spot kick hit the post and squirmed under Manuel Neuer before it was cleared. In shock at missing their chance, Hoffenheim shuffled back and as is so often the case, they paid the price. After Müller had a goal disallowed for the use of his hand, Costa started another brilliant move out wide. His low cross evaded Mario Götze's attempt at a back heel, but substitute Lewandowski was on hand to guide the ball home to give Bayern their second consecutive win. Schalke 1-1 Darmstadt (Draxler 48' - Rausch 9') After an impressive opening day win against Bremen, Schalke were denied by a resilient Darmstadt. Former Hannover wingback Konstantin Rausch curled in from the left side of the area after Schalke failed to deal with a long ball forward from Darmstadt. Searching an immediate equalizer, Julian Draxler curled just over the bar. Ralf Fährmann had to make a superb close-range stop to deny Mario Vrancic from doubling Darmstadt's lead. Andre Breitenreiter's men launched a siege on the visitors' goal but couldn't find a breakthrough before the half. It only took three minutes into the second-half though, and Schalke were level. Franco di Santo sent in a low cross for Draxler, who timed his darting run perfectly to guide the ball into the bottom corner. The home side pushed on to find a winner. Johannes Geis hit the bar with a free kick, and then Roman Neustädter nearly flicked the ball in at the far post but in the end Darmstadt were not to be denied a brave point that may make a difference come the end of the season. Cologne 1-1 Wolfsburg (Zoller 30' - Bendtner 84') With all the focus on one man before kick off, Cologne's home game against Wolfsburg was a rather forgettable affair for the opening half an hour. Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne was jeered after a poor showing and things got worse for The Wolves when the home side took the lead. A goal kick from Timo Horn was flicked on by Anthony Modeste and Simon Zoller reacted quickly to flick it over the advancing Koen Casteels and then, despite the attention of Naldo, head in to the empty net. In the second-half, Zoller had the chance to square the ball for 2-0, but he chose instead to go for goal only to be denied by Casteels. The stand-in goalkeeper denied Modeste as Dieter Hecking's side continued to look sluggish. Aaron Hunt tried his hand at playmaking duties, but Bas Dost couldn't beat Timo Horn with a deflected effort. The home side was left heartbroken though, when Horn spilled Daniel Caligiuri's shot from out wide allowing substitute Nicklas Bendtner to tap in a late equalizer. It could and should have been even more of a painful afternoon for Cologne, but De Bruyne fluffed a glorious chance to win the game. Matthias Lehmann's mistake let in the Belgian but he tried to do too much with his one-on-one chance and then his rebound was blocked by a defiant Lehmann. The points were shared, but both Wolfsburg and De Bruyne looked as though their minds were elsewhere. Leverkusen clever, Frankfurt sneak a point Augsburg's tough start to the new season continues after they saw defeat slip away late on against Frankfurt. Caiuby's toe-poked finish into the roof of the net gave the visitors a deserved lead in the first half and it appeared as though it would be enough. Marwin Hitz made a fine, diving save to deny Marco Russ and Haris Seferovic showed great control with his chest, but his hurried finish could only hit the side netting. Youngster Luca Waldschmidt saved the day though, setting up stand-in captain Russ to slot home an equalizer five minutes from time inside the box. In the only game of the day that didn't end with a share of two goals, Leverkusen comfortably beat Hannover by a solitary goal. Aiming to break the league's record for free-kick goals, Hakan Calhanoglu's stunning set-piece from 20 yards out gave the visitors a first-half lead. A weak Admir Mehmedi effort prevented Roger Schmidt's men from doubling their half-time lead. A minute into the second half and Calhanoglu had hit the corner of the goal frame with another superb free-kick, but there were to be no more goals, despite Leverkusen's best efforts.

After Friday night’s draw in the capital, more draws and more drama followed on Saturday’s Bundesliga matchday two action. Bayern’s fortune continued and Kevin de Bruyne played, but he probably shouldn’t have. Hoffenheim 1-2 Bayern Munich (Volland 1′ – Müller 41′, Lewandowski 90+1′) Despite Hoffenheim setting a new league record they couldn’t break their own curse against the record-champions as ... Read More »

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